Just a heads-up, this got far longer than I intended. You may need a snack.
Hi all, (I just posted a hello in the intro forum)
I was hoping for some perspective, other experiences, advice and/or a flaming.
This past Feb we adopted our puppy, Nike, from a rescue organization on petfinder. The listed said "probably purebred." I doubted it to be true from looking at the picture, but the group picture of puppies certainly looked like black lab mixes and that was great with us. I applied, was accepted and that weekend we went to pick him up.
The group of 4 puppies we chose from were mixes- lots of white on their chests, tails that curved up slightly, shorter than your average lab ears. Once home, he happened to yawn. And would you look at that- lots of black/purple markings on the top of his tongue and very dark underneath his tongue. I know now that he's definitely part Chow- the shape of his face,the way he carries his tail, his tongue, and he's not much for retrieving either
My last dog (GSD) I got when she was 12 weeks old from a byb (and didn't know better at the time). Although she was great with me and my immediate family, she was dog aggressive, strange people aggressive and very protective. I think part of it was just her personality and sadly part of it was my inexperience. I think I unknowingly reinforced unwanted reactions and behaviors because I was worried about her response to situations. I did my best to socialize her, but not realizing it then, I was working from behind the eight-ball. She spent the first 12 weeks of her life in a basement and I don't think she got out much. I often felt like I rescued her from that guy. I had to put her down in Nov at 13yo due to cancer. We miss her very much.
Anyway, the point of all was that I was bound and determined to do it better this next time around. I have three kids 6 and under. I wanted a family friendly, happy dog. I did a ton of research, first about breeds and then about breeders. We were thinking of buying a lab puppy through a reputable breeder and at the same time, I was still keeping up with petfinder as well. It was breaking my heart to to see all these puppies the needed homes and here I could do just that. And then the listing for Nike appeared.
Here are my issues:
I feel like the rescue person was less than honest in her listing and her practice. Those puppies were clearly mixes and she should have listed that, and taken her best guess on their breed(s). I have written many scathing emails to her over the past 2 months but haven't actually sent them.
I wasn't sure of what a Chow looked like as a puppy. I didn't recognize it when I saw him, and didn't even think to check his tongue. With my young kids and past baggage, I just didn't want a dog breed with aggression/fighting history. I'm not looking for a guard dog. There were just some breeds out of the question for me (and I know a dog is more than it's breed's public image). With the kids, I just wanted to reduce the likelihood of problems.
Nike's a great puppy. He's wonderful with the kids, esp. the baby. He's smart and listens well. We love him very much. I am a SAHM, I take him out with me whenever I can, he love's to go and play with the kids when I pick my son up from school. He's belly-up just as soon as he greets people and does his happy pee on them.
He's in puppy kinder now and the teacher made a comment to the effect of "he might now be the kind of dog you can take to the dog park." He doesn't seem to back down, she said. And today at the beach, he (for lack of a better description) snarled at another dog he had been friendly with earlier.
And then there is my vet-friend, who rolled her eyes when she realized he was part chow, said she never met a chow she liked. Ugh.
I am worried that we'll have aggression issues later on. One of the reasons we chose a lab was for the temperament. The thought of re-homing him had crosses my mind, but that's not the of dog owner I have ever been, he's part of the family and he is such a good puppy. And, I'd be really sad if he turns out to be a the kind of dog who has to be the only dog in the house. We'd like another in 3 years or so.
Am I nuts and just overly worried about this? There's no need to re-home him, right? I feel like an idiot for not knowing better and for setting my expectations too high. I just can't help but feel like I'm staring down the barrel of my last 13 years all over again.